Suppose they held an entertainment district and somebody forgot to open a country music club…
Unimaginable, right? Wrong.
It’s been years now since the Beaumont Club – and Guitars & Cadillacs before – graced the Westport nightlife scene. And hey, this is Kansas City. No matter hip hip and erudite we believe ourselves to be, for better and for worse, country music is king around these here parts.
When was the last time somebody held a rock concert at Arrowhead?
Excuse me, Camarohead.
Well, the guy who masterminded country at the Beaumont in the early 1990s – Wild Bill Nigro – is back in the saddle again at the nightclub formerly known as The Dark Horse Tavern.
The name of Nigro’s new game: The Westport Saloon.
“It was a worn out concept and there are too many other bars in Westport with similar kinds of crowds and concepts,” Nigro says of the Dark Horse. “So when Travis Fields from Ernie Biggs came to me and told me about a new concept that nobody else in Westport was doing, it sounded good to me.”
The return of the upscale shit kickers.
“We have live music – all local bands – predominantly on weekends,” Nigro says. “And the music is leaning towards country – some red dirt, some rockabilly, some country rock and singer songwriters – and some new stuff like stomp. I’m excited about it.”
And so far so good, two weeks in.
Crowds have been building as awareness spreads and the fall drinking season unfolds.
“It’s going good,” Nigro says. “And we’re the only country bar in Westport now.”
One unfortunate casualty of Nigro’s new digs: Torres Pizza.
“Torres Pizza is no longer,” Nigro says. “I quit making pizza there a decade ago, so as far as I’m concerned it ended then. Everybody else who leased the space thought they could do better and continued to sell it as Torres Pizza, but the pizza was never the same. Not since I left the kitchen. They all just made it worse.”
How about unleashing the recipe for Torres fans now that the game is no longer afoot?
“Sure, it’s in my head,” Nigro says. “After making a million pizzas, I think I can still remember it. I haven’t really thought about selling it but I’m leaning towards leaving it closed.”
As for the return of country to Westport – hey – where else can you suck down cold drinks until 3 a.m. while listening to a band called Tyrannosaurus Chicken?